Video Chat App Offers Bounty Against Hacking Rumors

Houseparty, a group video chat app, is offering a $1 million reward for evidence of an alleged smear campaign against the company. It is currently working to stifle claims that the app steals information from others on the same smartphone. The app is similar in function to other video chat services, like Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Last June, Houseparty was acquired by Epic Games, the maker of mega-popular videogame Fortnite.

As reported by Reuters, hundreds of tweets have emerged over the past few days declaring that Snapchat, Spotify, and other apps on people’s mobile devices were hacked after the Houseparty app was downloaded. Nick Chester, a spokesperson for Epic Games, said that Houseparty discovered the tweets on Monday morning, but their “investigation found that many of the original tweets spreading this claim have been deleted.”

On Twitter, Houseparty publicly denied the hacking claims, writing, “All Houseparty accounts are safe – the service is secure, has never been compromised, and doesn’t collect passwords for other sites.” British cybersecurity blogger Graham Cluley commented on the claims against Houseparty, saying, “The fact that you installed Houseparty and then your Spotify account was breached may be entirely and utterly unconnected.”

Houseparty has recently been listed as one of the most downloaded apps on both the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store. It has quickly grown in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic now that more people rely on video chatting to communicate and conduct business.